Arsenal have money to burn, and need to buy before the end of the transfer window. Here, fanatix casts our eye over the market to help Arsene Wenger reinforce his squad.
At the end of last season, Arsenal were understandably buoyant at reaching the UEFA Champions League, and beating arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur to fourth place on the final match day.
However, a shocking summer of inaction has led to discontent at the Emirates Stadium, which was only exacerbated by the dreadful 3-1 home loss to Aston Villa – an absolute disaster in every aspect.
An absurd number of injuries during the game, poor decisions from the officials, a red card for Laurent Koscielny and – last but not least – some dreadful performances from those selected have all combined to drastically alter the mood at the club from excited to downbeat.
However, the football season is a long one, and there is still plenty of time for the Gunners to salvage their season.
Here, fanatix looks ways to improve the mood at Arsenal – and turn them into the contenders they hoped to be at the beginning of the campaign with the right signings.
It is fair to say that there are a number of weaknesses in the Gunners squad that ought to be improved before the transfer window closes on September 2nd.
Wojciech Szczesny has barely improved in the three years he has been the club’s first choice goalkeeper, and backup option Lukasz Fabianski seems to alternate between sheer brilliance and liability throughout the course of matches.
Stoke City custodian Asmir Begovic has proven himself amongst the best in the Premier League, is not cup tied for UEFA competitions, and as the Potters have Thomas Sorensen and Jack Butland in reserve, they are well covered between the posts.
A centre back too is a priority, but Swansea City defender Ashley Williams is not that man.
Like Thomas Vermaelen, Williams makes plenty of last ditch tackles and blocks because he is frequently caught out of position, and at 28 years of age, he would not be a long term option.
His defensive partner Chico Flores would be a better option for Arsenal, whilst teenage centre back Kurt Zouma of AS Saint-Etienne is a strong candidate for the future. Another good alternate signing for Arsenal would be Paris Saint-Germain centre back Mamadou Sakho, who is looking to leave Parc des Princes after the club brought in Marquinhos from AS Roma.
Arsenal are also reportedly in for Matthias Ginter of FC Schalke 04, and his ability to play in both defensive midfield and at centre back could be immensely useful for the Gunners – particularly after a game like Saturday’s, when Mikel Arteta was not fit and Laurent Koscielny was sent off.
Additional creativity on the wings too is required, for the likes of Gervinho and Andrei Arshavin have departed. They may not have been the requisite quality to start games, but Arsene Wenger was at least able to call upon them from the bench where required.
Serge Gnabry may find himself regularly involved in first team affairs earlier than expected – as could central midfielder Gedion Zelalem. Such is the current paper thinness of Arsenal’s squad.
Finally, a support striker is a must. The Gunners have a quality target man in Olivier Giroud, who can be expected to build on a solid first season in red and white, and Theo Walcott is exceptional running in behind the opposition defence.
A forward capable of dropping deep, creating chances and running at a defence – as well as the ability to play up front on his own would be ideal.
That man could well be Luis Suarez, but if Arsenal do not want to pay more than £40,000,001 for the Liverpool star, they could do worse than look to Serie A.
Fiorentina ace Adem Ljajic appears set to leave the Viola this summer, as he is in a contract dispute, and although AC Milan have had an offer of €8 million rejected, should any bid close to that mark be accepted, it would be exceptional value.
Another great option for the Gunners could be Udinese striker Luis Muriel, whose ability to burst through gaps between defenders with brilliant dribbling, brute strength and intense pace has led to comparisons with the Brazilian Ronaldo.
Eleven goals in fifteen Serie A matches last season has seen the European elite take notice of Muriel, who is capable of playing both up front and in a deeper role.
He and Ljajic could be acquired together for a similar price to Suarez, but whilst they may not be the big name players Arsenal fans may be hoping for, they could turn out to be world beaters.